After reading the New York Times article entitled, “After Recession, More Young Adults Are Living on Street”, I couldn’t help but to think how the vagrancy laws, in some respect, may actually benefit society today, especially those that are part of the “lost generation”. The article basically discusses how thousands of people between the ages of 18 and 24 with college credits and/or work experience, also known as the “lost generation” have been left without a job and consequently a home because of the recession. It discusses how many have to settle for a job that requires them to lower their standards. It then goes on to discuss how others that do get jobs continue to experience layoffs, leaving them with no stability to pay for rent and other living expenses causing them to seek shelter. At which point they encounter another problem as there aren’t nearly enough shelters that have beds readily accessible for such a large population of unemployed individuals. The vagrancy laws, minus the punishments, may actually alleviate the stress that comes with what seems to be a never-ending battle of unemployment. At this point many of them just wish for a steady job, regardless of the pay. Many that tend to find jobs also encounter constant lay-offs before they could even get back on their feet. Currently the economy is in bad shape, just as it was in England when the vagrancy laws were established and in addition to that there are people that are able, ready and willing to work, even if it means to work at the local burger joint as a college graduate. It seems ironic how when there is a need for a certain type of law that’s when it never seems to be present and vice versa. England obviously felt that the vagrancy laws were the best way in improving their economy; however a law as such may not be the best way to resolve our economic issues today. That just may not be what the government feels will resolve our current economic issues; but if helping college students who are supposed to be leaders of the future, isn’t a way to resolve our economic issues, then what is?
It also seems that today the government could actually benefit from the assistance of religious organizations instead of alleviating the “houses of religion from economic hardship” as the vagrancy laws intended. Today, I hardly hear about religious organizations assisting those in in need as much as they have in the past. It seems as if the establishment of the vagrancy laws have made these religious organizations so detached from society that now their services are preserved for certain individuals in particular situations. But apparently this article shows that those that are in most need are actually those that are also the most capable.
Instead of officers trying to assist the homeless they seem to be extremely busy arresting individuals at their own residence as discussed in the article below. NYC Police officers have been unlawfully and wrongfully arresting residents and their visitors for crimes that have now been acknowledged as blatant crimes. This article pertains to the vagrancy laws, because I’m sure the officers excuse for theses arrest were on the grounds that they were “ properly directed towards the prevention of crime and the preservation of good order”, just as Chambliss described the vagrancy laws. However, as society changes laws change and society no longer tolerates such heinous actions to go unpunished, especially if there are many cases that prove the injustice within a specific institution. In this respect this article also relates to the desegregation of schools, as it took multiple cases to prove that these actions on behalf of the police department were immoral and unjust.
A total contrast from the articles discussed above is one in which an officer actually goes out of his way to buy a homeless man a pair of shoes. Despite the stigma that comes with being homeless or a “beggar”, this article shows that there are some people that still have strong regard for humanity despite their economic status. This is not typical behavior for an officer, but it’s just funny how what was once prohibited no longer needs to be prohibited nor restricted because it’s a rare occurrence. Although vagrancy laws prohibited others from assisting beggars, and a more recent law was passed, as discussed in another post, which bans citizens from giving the homeless food, it doesn’t seem to hinder ones charitable nature to its entirety, as it intends to. I have come to notice that laws that are aimed to segregate, oppress and/or neglect a certain group of people, somewhere along the road tend to have the total opposite affect just as in the case of school segregation and the NYCH cases discussed in the above article.